Posted in Achievements, Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, coronavirus, Covid-19, Entreprenuer, exercise, expat life, freedom, friendship, Live your best life, Uncategorized

Reflections on Growing Older

Reflecting on the years past happen a lot lately. The months spent in the Villa as Covid ravaged the world brought to the forefront a lot of thoughts about my age. I found myself remembering times in my life that shaped me and the future I made for myself. So much whirled around in my head as life seemed to be running like a freight train speeding towards some final destination of which I could only guess. Years pass by quickly as we get older, and not so much when we are young. When my dog Marley started declining this past year, I felt the pressure of time take root in my mind. He passed away in December and took many years with him. He had been a constant companion through a lot of upheavals.

I am the same age that I thought was old when my parents were alive. I could always call them for anything I needed; advice, money, babysitting, to hear them tell me they were proud of me and my independence. How is it that I now am the one giving advice? How is it that I see so many of my daughter’s friends with families, buying homes, advancing in their jobs, doing what I did at the same age? It became clear to me during the year 2020 that I was now accelerating in a different direction, towards old age. My granddaughter grew into a teenager; while my son was learning to speak Spanish and help me with my hotel. My years on Earth are no longer passing without hurry but like a parachute falling from the sky.

How is it possible I have lived in Colombia for ten years? I look at photos of when I first arrived in this lovely country, and I see glimpses of the changing years in my appearance. I am no longer a skinny redhead filled with the need to appear more youthful than I am. I am similar to a bird in flight, searching for what will be my next landing place. I have learned to navigate my business, my life, and my thoughts without so much emotion. I don’t hold grudges; I eliminate anyone less than worthy of my time. I have concluded it is nice to be independent and fully capable of a good life which I direct completely. I land like a bird in different spots depending on the day and my needs. It is part of living life with a degree of flexibility. We all need to be flexible during this unusual time of the Pandemic. We also need to be patient. I still try to accomplish being patient, which is a struggle I acknowledge about myself.

Yielding to life’s changes doesn’t make me weak. I can differentiate between what is necessary and what is not. I find my day is not complete without coffee and photography in the early morning while enjoying my birds at the feeders. If I have plans, I give myself enough time to enjoy this part of my day. I have found that a sudden thunderstorm here in the Andes Mountains of Colombia is exciting. I know I have to expect lightning striking nearby, and sometimes so much rain I have to use a squeegee to remove water off the balconies. Sometimes, I need to push my Dogo Argentino, Cash off of me too! He is a big baby when he hears lightning and thunder. I need to exercise almost every day. I am feeling the pains of my youth and the dancing and exercise I subjected my body to. Yoga helps me, especially for maintaining a calm demeanor throughout the day.

My mind thinks like my twenty-something self. I might have more years, but I am still youthful in my thinking. I have many younger friends, and I appreciate what they bring to my life. They have given me the ability to see what an extraordinary life I have designed for myself. They deliver laughs; while giving me a lot of great ideas! I improve my business as they offer me new suggestions, including event planning at my beautiful Villa. I have to continue to grow into this uncertain future during the time of the Covid-19. Life might have changed throughout the past year, but I have adapted.

Finally, I continue to improve my Spanish language skills. I am living in Colombia, my first language of English is not my first language here. I have read learning a new language can keep the mind fresh. I think in Spanish as much as I use my native English now. I continue to grow as a person as much as I continue to march onward in years. I don’t want to be that older woman who longs for the “old days.” What fun would that be? I want to be part of the future of this evolving world. I believe that means that I must adapt, grow, and enjoy life as it is now in 2021. I will continue to refuse a stereotypical role of what some deem correct for a woman my age. I will accept growing older as part of the elegance I have strived to achieve my entire adult life. As I have always said, “I want to look and be the best I can be, no matter my age.”

Posted in Colombia, Colombian healthcare, exercise, expat life, friendship, hip surgery, Journal of surgery for hips, life lessons, strength, Uncategorized

Fast Healing

There is something resilient about me, and it is a quality that I like about myself. When I decide I’m going to do accomplish something, I do it. Sometimes it might take me awhile but I do what I say I’m going to do. I also don’t dwell on negativity, bad energy, or the mistakes I’ve made in my past. I just get on with my life. We should always put ourselves first before anyone, so that we can enjoy healthy relationships with others. To love oneself, to respect oneself, and to achieve respect from others are great gifts in life. I have suffered, but through my suffering I have become very wise.

I have realized since I started writing my book that I cared too much about what others thought, and not enough about  what I need. Now, when I encounter situations that are unexpected, I figure out ways to fix the problem if there is one, or to embrace good news wholeheartedly with joy in my heart. I also have found what real friendship is since moving to Colombia. My friends in my tiny little pueblo have been contacting me every single day to see how I am. Some of the people who have contacted me I didn’t even know they knew I was having surgery.  I love this quote “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” Maya Angelou. I believe that I have people who truly care for me here in Colombia and I also believe I’ve earned the respect of many with what I have accomplished and continue to accomplish.

I don’t necessarily believe that the goal in life is to have unconditional happiness. I believe that life is about learning and growing. I don’t seek out anyone with persistence, in fact I like being alone with my contemplations. I allow myself to have space and time when I’ve made mistakes to ponder what I can do differently the next time. Oftentimes, it is listening to yourself and not letting others influence you in decisions that should be yours alone.

I wrote about being afraid before my hip surgery in my last blog. There is one thing I’ve counted on all of my life and that is exercise. I envisioned not being able to hike  nor do Yoga because of the rare hip condition I developed. Exercise is sanity to me. It is healing to me. Exercise is a habit I can’t imagine being without. As I write my book, l realize it is integral to everything that is part of my history, both good and bad. So I had a basis for my fear. Once again, I needlessly worried and my results have been spectacular. I have steadfastly done what the doctors have asked, including taking a lot of medication that makes me sleepy, and exercises that physical therapists showed me while I was in the hospital. I’m free of the pain in my hips and I have not even started my 20 days of special therapy ordered by my surgeon.

Yesterday l walked two blocks down the road to the hairdresser with my crutches, and of course Jazmine was with me. I was slow, it was a bit nerve wracking because I thought maybe I’m doing too much, then I walked back up the hilly road. Today, I could walk without crutches if I wanted to, but I’m not going to. I’m following instructions. I’m certainly surprised by my progress. I am hoping that perhaps I won’t have to stay as long in Cali, Colombia when my surgeon sees me next week. That perhaps he will release me after a short time of therapy here to finish physical therapy in Palmira and I can be back to my Paradise and my animals. If he won’t I am ok with that too. Oh, and this morning a hummingbird came to the feeder I put outside on the patio. If that isn’t a good sign I don’t know what is.

My quiet little neighborhood 

Posted in Colombian healthcare, exercise, Healthcare in Colombia, hiking, hip surgery, Journal of surgery for hips, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Oh These Hips!

I have a severe hip problem that just showed up about 8 months ago, and now I am having surgery on both of my hips. Surgery meant for someone 14 years old. Yes you are reading that right, I have a condition found mostly in young adult women. This is an article on my condition, which can be translated to English. I am going to keep everyone updated throughout the time leading up to the surgery and after the surgery with journal blogs. As everyone knows I moved to Colombia because of the health insurance they offer here, I have two types of insurance. One is Prepagada or prepaid and the other is called EPS and this is what most Colombians have. By having both I am covered for just about anything, including having my housekeeper stay with me in the hospital. I am covered for an ambulance to pick me up and bring me home from the hospital also. Health insurance is affordable here and high quality. I am staying at this hospital complex in Cali, Colombia called Imbanaco. The best hospital in Cali, Colombia and I have been told the rooms are really nice like suites in hotels.

Exercise saved me when my daughter was murdered, exercise is something I plan my day around. Especially Yoga, I love Yoga.  Exercise has been a habit that has been part of my life since I was a young woman. I even taught exercise class throughout my pregnancy with Misha my deceased daughter.

Michele jane fonda
Back in the Jane Fonda days.

I took to Yoga after a customer at Villa Migelita Ecolodge showed me how wonderful it is for the body and mind. I also like walking through the mountains around my Villa taking nature photography. I actually thought I had injured my hips through Yoga because the pain started in one hip and then it went to both hips. I have been assured by my doctors Yoga had nothing to do with this condition CAM and I just developed it and it can just come on like it did.

So far it has been an easy process of getting the tests needed and making the appointments before the surgery that I need. Just like in the United States I will be seeing my surgeon and the anesthesiologist next week. I already had my blood work done, and I was told to write down any questions for my time with the surgeon before the actual surgery date of August 22. My surgeon is one of three doctors who perform this surgery here in Colombia. I am lucky he is in Cali, because the other two doctors are in Bogotá. I have been told by all doctors my surgery is a rare type of CAM and that not many doctors do this surgery in all the world. My surgeon has a 96% percent success rate. I am sure that I will be fine, but I worry about after the surgery because he wants me to do therapy in Cali and it is an 1 1/2 hours from my Villa. His secretary told me he has special therapy and needs it to be done in the hospital I have the surgery at. So I will be figuring that out. I am a bit worried about how I will get to and from Cali, and am hoping I can get an ambulance to take me to this therapy also. I do know I will be on complete bed rest for around 10 days before I begin my therapy.

I have already had a call checking on me to make sure I was getting my blood exams, and making sure I am doing well. I have noticed that my hip pain has progressed and I am happy to be having the surgery soon. I am doing my Yoga as much as possible until the actual date because I will miss it when I am healing. That will be one of my questions: “Will I still be able to do Yoga after my healing process and therapy is over?” Right now I have to limit certain positions because they cause me pain, but I am able to adapt. However, walking is not easy for me and leaves me with radiating pain. So I have been only doing walking to short distances.

The waterfall cover photo is one of my favorite adventure travel options offered here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge and I will keep looking at a photo I have on the wall of my Villa of this beautiful place as inspiration while I get better. I love taking my tourists on this experience, and thank goodness I have people who work with me so I can still run my hotel as usual. I just won’t be able to participate for a bit. As for now, I am trying to organize everything perfectly because I don’t think I will be able to drive for a few weeks.

I will write more after I visit my surgeon next week. One thing I am doing is eating a lot. I am trying to put on a bit of weight because I know myself and I will lose weight after the surgery if I am in pain and not sleeping well. I am eating very healthy and Jazmine made me rice pudding last night from real cows milk. Oh so delicious! There is nothing like the milk from a cow, we do boil it for pasteurization, but the creamy deliciousness of arroz con leche is wonderful. It reminded me of my mother because that was her favorite dessert.

I want everyone to see the how wonderful the healthcare is here in Colombia, and to follow my journey. The United States could offer options like I have here in Colombia. Perhaps, reading my journey will be enlightening to many who do not have the option of a job that supplies health insurance, or the money to afford the best in the United States.


Posted in Uncategorized

Breathe, Just Breathe

Yoga is to me what breath is to the body. It fulfills me and gives me peace. I was quite discouraged with life in general when I returned from the United States last month. I wrote about being misplaced, and apparently I find it hard to be one with the Universe when I visit South Florida. I write this with regret and want to make sure everyone understands that I have changed from what I was before I moved to Colombia, it is not really about the United States but more about who I have become. Yoga is part of my life force now, it keeps me sustained with energy and calmness. I thank God every day for my friend who came to visit me at Villa Migelita for opening my eyes to the wonders of Yoga. Yoga was very hard for me to do while in the United States, and that was my first clue that the peace I am used to here in the mountains of Colombia is not easily available to me while there. My mind couldn’t calm enough to let go during my Yoga time. Anyone who does Yoga knows this is the whole point of Yoga, besides the beneficial exercise. One must quiet their mind. When I was visiting Rhode Island, I had no problem doing my Yoga, it was when I came back to South Florida,  that the drama began and I couldn’t let go of the thoughts that were whirling inside of my head.

So when I wrote my recent blog I was in a different place, a place where I was truly disgusted with people’s actions. I was sad, disturbed and really alarmed about certain things that happened in the world around me while visiting the USA. It seems people feel I have rights to change things with my granddaughter, but I don’t have a lot of rights. I DO have an agreement until my granddaughter is 18 and it is ironclad. I will fight ANYONE who tries to deny me my rights to visitation, and I can actually have them held in contempt. However, when I hear things or see things that are unacceptable to me all I can do is speak up. Which I do quite readily now, much to the dismay of others. That is where I have changed another area in my life. I have no problem saying what I mean to others anymore.

When you marry someone who used to be a good person but slowly shows they are bitter and very much verbally abusive it can make you a person that is meek, without the courage you once had in another period of your life. That is what happened to me during my marriage. I became quiet about things I should have spoken up about, and I should have left much sooner than I did. I am constantly asked by many how I ended up in Colombia. I think that I knew deep down that if I didn’t leave I would lose any semblance of respect for myself, as my ex was stalking me and watching my every move. My son would not adhere to the visitation schedule and had been alienated by my ex-husband to a very extreme extent. Friends who once really thought well of me looked and acted differently to me. I know it was because of gossip, and maybe my paranoid behavior to a certain extent. After all, I had tried to get divorced two times and the second time took almost 3 years and it was a nasty affair even though it could have been done and settled rapidly. It wore me down. I gave custody to my ex because I couldn’t put my son through anymore fighting and ugliness. Also my son would not stay with me like he was supposed to. I had therapists coming to the house to help him deal with the loss of his sister, but when he was with my ex husband they wouldn’t let them inside the house. I know that I was the better parent but my son was 15 and there was nothing I could do to make him stay with me during my visitation. He was allowed to do what he wanted and it hasn’t turned out so well for him, as I know if he had been with me his life would be so much different now. He would be in a much better place and have a much better life plan. That time of my life was so bad, I still have dreams of trying to escape all the time. Strange dreams with people in them that are chasing me, people who were really mean to me then. Disturbing, realistic dreams of the trauma I went through showing up in my psych like a horror fiction novel. I open my eyes in the morning and look out to the mountains and hear the birds singing and breathe a deep sigh of relief, and this is 5 years later. So you can imagine how going to the United States affected me this last time. It made me remember things I am trying to move on from.

I will never not go back, because of the love of my granddaughter. She is my angel that is the good in all of the bad that has happened in the past years. She is a sweet, loving child caught in the middle of a bunch of very horrible situations. Myself, and her other grandparents, along with her loving aunts look out for her well-being, but her father does not which is very upsetting as he is her only parent because my daughter is dead. He is back in jail and that happened while I was visiting this time. He violated probation and his chances of getting out again are not good. I am angry at him. I did so much to help him when he was in jail this last time. I wanted my granddaughter to have her only parent in her life, and when he served his prison sentence recently she changed. She was sad of course, and she understandably wants to have parents like other children do. So when he was arrested while I was there I was furious. He told me he made a mistake, but to me it is not a mistake when his child is left parent-less once again. He then was calling her on the phone and saying he would see her soon, which I knew wasn’t true so I told her the truth, much to others dismay. She needs to know that all adults don’t lie to her. I do hope by some miracle he gets another chance and the judge at his hearing will let him out of jail, but the odds are against that.

I wonder sometimes why my life is the way it is. I would love to be growing old with my children around me, and my grandchildren visiting. But that is not my life plan. I am never going to have that. My own son recently contacted me, but he did so to find out whom I am leaving my Villa to. It was not because he missed me as his mother, but because he wanted something from me. The only thing I want to give my son right now is good advice, love and encouragement to become a strong and independent young man. If I see that change then I will consider what I will leave to him based on responsibility and life choices. He doesn’t want me to be a mother, he wants me to be his friend and not even mention he is now 21 and should be in school or working…which he is doing neither. I love him but I will not accept his choices. I will see him always, but I won’t allow him to berate me or use very bad words to me when I say something he doesn’t agree with. So he told me I had two dead children as far as he is concerned. It hurt, but not as bad as you would think it would. I just realize that what I am made of did not pass on to him. It is sad, but I have no control over his decisions. So I just do what I always do and go on with my life and what makes me strong and healthy. That is why I chose to move to Colombia, another country, to get away from all the bad that engulfs me while in the United States. I realize that only I can bring happiness to myself and cannot count on others to do that for me. I am still sad to be without the family I dreamed of having once upon a time many years ago, but it is just not meant to be. So I accept what I do have, a lovely life filled with my animals and nature in a beautiful place of peace. A peace that is so wonderful and of much comfort to me. When I breath while I do my Yoga I take in that peace and it fills me up with gratitude for what I do have, even if it is not what I envisioned so many years ago.